1. Hikaru Sulu is gay, George Takei is not (in a happy sense)
What with it being set in the 23rd century fer chrissakes, it makes sense for Star Trek Beyond to feature at least one gay character – which is why John Cho’s announcement this week that his Hikaru Sulu will be revealed as a gay parent was initially met with general positivity. And yet there exists one particularly prominent voice of dissent, and it belongs to the unmistakable timbre of the original Sulu, George Takei.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Takei commented that though he was “delighted that there’s a gay character… it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation… [and] really unfortunate.” Instead, Takei would have preferred a new character be created with a history of being gay, rather than revealing Sulu had been closeted all this time. Takei goes on to note the whole story of back-and-forths between Takei, Cho, director Justin Lin and writer Simon Pegg, with Takei unshifting in his assertions. For his part, Simon Pegg has countered with a recent statement that divulges some of the details behind the character’s unveiling; essentially, the writers could pay tribute to Takei’s own sexuality and history as an LGBT activist as well as adding an orientation that can exist as “just one of many personal aspects” to a beloved character.
2. 2016: a year of box office wobbles
It’s hard to look at the current box office figures for 2016 and not imagine that leagues of movie bigwigs are currently pulling out clumps of hair wondering where it all went wrong – unless you’re Disney that is, in which case they are probably more than happy to ride this gravy train to the top. So, with Independence Day: Resurgence being written off as a critical and commercial flop – it was always going to be, right? – and BFG underperforming in the States despite a mainly positive critical consensus, it’s fair to to say that many of the year’s “hits” have arrived as little more than sloppy jabs for movie bucks.
Again, unless you’re Disney. It seems unlikely anything is going to take the year’s top spot from Captain America: Civil War, which has taken a hefty $1.15billion internationally [via Box Office Mojo]. After Finding Dory‘s $136million opening weekend it looks set to join The Jungle Book and Zootropolis alongside the mighty Cap in the top 5. We are left wondering what could break this slump: Suicide Squad? Fantastic Beasts? Rogue One? We’ll see.
3. Daniel Radcliffe clashes with more violent baldies in Imperium
Fighting against psychotic, brainwashed extremists is right in Daniel Radcliffe’s wheelhouse – so all eyes toward the new trailer for Imperium. Based on the real-life story of FBI agent Michael German, who infiltrated a number of white supremacist groups in the ‘90s, Radcliffe plays the similarly-employed Nate Foster – a man who must do his duty by getting his hair shaved, his body tattooed and his lip trembling. Imperium also stars Toni Collette and Burn Gorman and is due in UK cinemas on September 16.
4. Tomb Raider gets a release date
After an unsuccessful bid for the role by Daisy Ridley, we were sad to (re)report that our new Lara Croft would be coming in the shape of Alicia Vikander. So we have to settle for not only one of the finest actors of her generation, but an Oscar winner to boot? Poor, poor us. Frankly, the thought of Vikander in the role is mouthwatering; having already proven herself time and again in dramatic roles, this is a welcome opportunity to see if she has the chops for action. Almost next to nothing is known about the film – other than the fact that it will likely be grittier than Angelina Jolie’s tepid films – which remains in pre-pre-production; nevertheless, we do have a release date. March 2018 is the month to mark on your calendars [via Variety]. That might seem like a long way off, but by then you’ll also be getting psyched for DC’s The Flash and a little number called Infinity War Part I.
5. Pixar will ease up on the sequels, honest
Jim Morris, the Pixar president, recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss the fabled studio’s development process and their upcoming production plate. One of the main things to take from the chat is that “everything after Toy Story  and The Incredibles  is an original right now.” So, after 2019 and the return of The Incredibles, Pixar (and their admittedly fairly small plate of about four films) is focused on original IPs that take place in “unusual but believable worlds”. It’s not a quite a declaration that there won’t be a Rata2ille or an E-Va on the horizon, but it looks like Pixar is easing out of what appears more of a scheduling happenstance than a play for that sweet, sweet sequel money.
6. Cannes hit Hell or High Water gets a second trailer
David Mackenzie’s Starred Up was a big hit with us here at ORWAV; we went so far as to name it the 13th best film of 2014, an honour to match its excellence. His followup Hell or High Water, a western outlaw movie starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, was a surprise hit at Cannes and from this trailer it’s clear to see why.
7. Steven Soderbergh interested in world’s secret, illegal accounts
The world’s most active retiree, Steven Soderbergh, apparently has his eyes set on a project that deals with the publication of The Panama Papers that captivated our attentions a few months back before we were distracted by yet more furry animals. According to Deadline, Soderbergh is set to produce the adaptation – with Scott Z. Burns expected to pen the script – but he may also have an eye on directing. Adding credence to the theory is the fact that Soderbergh and Burns previously collaborated on Contagion, The Informant! and Side Effects. The leaking of some 11.5 million documents back in April ultimately led to the resignation of the Icelandic Prime Minister, global outcry and the revelation that rich people like to stay rich – and it involved such acting luminaries as Emma Watson, Jackie Chan and Emilio Estevez. The celebrity cameos practically write themselves!
8. Kiefer Sutherland to return to Flatliners
This one might actually take top prize as the most unnecessary remake in living memory. Who we ask, who, WHO is calling for a remake of bloody Flatliners? [via Variety.] No wonder none of these films are making any money (see point two, above). Like it or not a remake of Flatliners is coming soon to a theatre near you where it will linger for a few days, writhe a little at the bottom of its opening week’s box office table, before slumping onto home release where it is destined for the dark corners of Netflix having failed to recoup its (probably far too hefty) budget. What is Flatliners, you (rightly) ask? It’s an utterly forgettable 1990 Joel Schumacher film that starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, and Kevin Bacon as medical students committed to find out what lies beyond death. Well, it’s back, and Sutherland is along for the ride, probably as a fiftysomething professor warning a new batch of twentysomething dweebs about the dangers of the beyond or some similar jazz.
9. Nicolas Winding Refn making a spy flick, totally didn’t care about Spectre anyway
Despite being on the shortlist of directors to take the helm of the most recent Bond instalment until Sam Mendes eventually signed on for Spectre, Nicolas Winding Refn, on a promotional tour for The Neon Demon, has admitted that franchise work isn’t really for him. Besides, he’s making his own spy thriller, and it’s going to be in Tokyo and everything. As Refn explains to The Telegraph, “I just know this way I can do whatever I want.” It just so happens that what he wants is usually moody lighting and a Cliff Martinez soundtrack. Until this mysterious spy-flick surfaces, about which we know nothing other than its filming location, we’ll have to make do with those aspects in a non-spy setting; The Neon Demon is out now.
10. Justin Timberlake and Juno Temple set to star in latest Woody Allen movie
Despite the fact that Woody Allen is now into his 80s he really does show no signs of slowing down; since his breakout with Sleeper in 1973 there have only been three years when he has failed to release a film (1974, 1981, and 2004, in case you’re wondering). Well, before the dust has even settled on the red carpet following the warm reception of Cafe Society at Cannes this summer, the director is already assembling his next all-star cast [via Empire Online]. Set for roles are Justin Timberlake – who is starting to sport an impressive filmography that few would have seen coming ten years ago – and Juno Temple, with a newly free schedule after the cancellation of HBO’s Vinyl.
- SON & EF